Hicks B. Waldron, of Naples, Fla., died at home on Sept. 22, with family at his side. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, in-law and friend.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Evelyn; his daughter, Janet (her husband Don); and grandchildren, Taylor and Alex (wife Alexia). He was preceded in death by his son Ben; his grandson, Ian; and wife Margaret.t
Born in Amsterdam, N.Y. on Oct. 31, 1923, he attended public schools until going to Green Mountain College in 1942. He attended the University of Michigan for his junior year before joining the U.S. Navy Officer Training Program at the University of Minnesota. He graduated from that institution in 1944 with a BS degree in mechanical engineering. He was granted a commission in 1945 from the Cornell University Naval Training Program and served as engineering officer on a subchaser in the North Atlantic. Following his discharge from the U.S. Navy, Hicks joined General Electric in its test engineering training program. Following a series of assignments in marketing, purchasing and general management, he was elected vice president in 1970 and group executive vice president of GE’s consumer businesses in 1972. After spending 27 years at GE, he left in 1973 to become president of Heublein, Inc. in Farmington, Conn. He subsequently became chairman and CEO, a title which he held until the sale of the company to R. J. Reynolds in 1982. He remained with R. J. Reynolds as executive vice president of that company, heading up the R. J. Reynolds Food & Beverage Group (a combination of Heublein and Del Monte). In 1983, he was elected chairman and CEO of Avon Products, Inc. in NYC from which he retired in 1989. Mr. Waldron served on numerous corporate boards including Hewlett Packard, Ryder Systems, ARCO, Connecticut General, CIGNA, Sunbeam, Sealand Inc., Connecticut Bank & Trust and Value Health, Inc. He was also an active participant in several other philanthropic activities including Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts of America, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America, The National Center for Health Education, TARGET (a national organization to prevent student alcohol and drug abuse) and the Board of Green Mountain College. He received the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans Award in 1985.
Hicks was a man with a bigger than life personality with an infectious smile. He had a wonderful sense of humor, wit, intellect and unbound compassion for others. These, along with his eternal optimism, carried him through life and business with great success. He faced many challenges and losses in life as well—all of which he met with character and strength. He was a positive force in so many lives and will be terribly missed.
A service will be held at Trinity by the Cove in Naples, Fla. on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. with a private burial service in Connecticut for family to follow
For online condolences please visit www.FullerNaples.com